Career Profile: Automotive Glass Technician
If your family often drives on gravel roads, your car or truck likely has a few cracks or chips in the windshield. Even on paved roads, vehicles’ glass can easily be damaged. When that happens, automotive glass technicians can help. Working in this trade might be right for you if you enjoy working with your hands and repairing things that are broken.
Every car, truck, or other vehicle comes with several windows, including the windshield and the ones at the back and sides. In Canada, the back window normally has a system of veins for melting any ice that forms on it. Automotive glass technicians install and restore these windows when they are broken or need other repairs. This could include filling in chipped sections or replacing entire windows.
Working in this trade requires a certain amount of strength to lift windows into place and an ability to work carefully and accurately, even in stressful or rushed situations. Most windows come in fairly standard sizes for each type of car. Still, automotive glass technicians need to know the different types of vehicles so that they can choose the right size of glass or cut it down if necessary.
They need to know about special features like tinted glass and know where to find both regular and special glass if it is not readily available. This might involve calling suppliers at factories to order shipments of the glass or to make special requests for unusual shapes and sizes.
Most automotive glass technicians work in autobody repair shops. In larger shops, these tradespeople might work only on the installation and repair of the glass, but in smaller shops, they might need to do many other tasks, such as ordering supplies and talking with customers. Usually, the work is indoors on weekdays, but some of the work might be outside and on weekends, especially in emergencies.
People in this job should know a lot about cars, trucks, and buses. They need to be able to drive both standard transmission and automatic vehicles, and they need to have a good driving record with few or no accidents. Two-year apprenticeships with both classroom and practical work are available at career colleges and trade schools. Salaries start at about $27,00 per year and can rise to more than $58,000.
As technicians age, they might feel unable to carry large pieces of glass and decide to move on to other jobs, but as long as they can still lift the glass into place, they can continue in the job. One of the dangers in this job is the possibility of serious back problems coming from bending over and lifting heavy objects. Cuts from removing broken glass or from the sharp edges on some pieces are also possible. Repair shops can also be dusty, oily, and loud, and some people might find this difficult.
Automotive glass technician work is very precise, and people in this trade need to be able to deal with all kinds of situations. Still, this can be a very good job for people who enjoy working with their hands.
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